Earls Court showcases home part-designed by Prince Charles to extract maximum energy efficiency from natural materials
A house designed by Prince Charles that aims to bring “ecological living” to the volume house building market went on display at the Ideal Home Show in London last weekend.
Developed in conjunction with the Building Research Establishment in Watford, the demonstration home is an attempt to prove that natural materials can be as energy efficient as high-tech solutions.
The three-bedroom, double-fronted house is built from aerated clay blocks, cladded with wood and wool insulation, and topped by a slate roof.
Inside it is fitted with organic, natural linoleum and tiles and heated with a combination of an air-source heat pump and a single wood-burning stove, which Hank Dittmar, chief executive of the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, insisted was powerful enough to warm the entire building.
He told reporters at the show that the Foundation’s winter tests showed the house never fell below 17 degrees even when the stove was not lit.
A lime rather than concrete render creates a breathable wall system, which ensures the house does not trap moisture, which in turn improves the air quality when compared with many volume-built homes, Dittmar said.
Although the design has yet to be picked up by any house-building companies, Dittmar is confident it would be easy for them to adopt the house as part of their portfolios
“We’ve talked to several volume house-builders,” he said. “We expect the first uptake to be with regional house builders, who are less involved with international supply chains and more willing to compete on quality [rather than price].”
Dittmar is equally confident that despite being 10 per cent larger and costing “a little bit more” than a standard-volume house, the design can provide a blueprint for more sustainable housing developments across the country.
“The problem with high-tech houses is that the houses work, but the people don’t. This house doesn’t need any engineering degrees,” he added. “This house design can be rolled out economically in large numbers all over the country.”
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